News Release

Delivery Contractor Pays Back Wages After Denying Paid Sick Leave To Employee Ordered to Self-Quarantine

AUSTIN, TX – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Black Swan Inc. – a delivery service contractor based in Austin, Texas – has paid $800 in back wages to an employee for wrongly denying paid sick leave for a qualifying reason under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). FFCRA allows employees to take paid leave when advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine or while seeking a medical diagnosis.

WHD investigators found that Black Swan Inc. failed to provide the employee paid sick leave despite a healthcare provider’s order to self-quarantine for two weeks. As a FedEx contractor, the employer thought they were not covered by the Act because they provided services for FedEx, an employer with more than 500 employees. As a contractor with less than 500 employees, Black Swan is not exempt from FFCRA provisions.  

Black Swan cooperated fully with investigators and, once it understood its responsibility under the new law, agreed to pay the employee’s wages for the days covered by paid sick leave. The employer also agreed to future compliance with the FFCRA, which went into effect on April 1, 2020.

“Employers should familiarize themselves with the new law and pay employees for time off as required under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” said Wage and Hour District Director Nicole Sellers in Austin, Texas. “The U.S. Department of Labor remains committed to protecting employees and educating employers so that all parties receive the benefits and protections the law provides.”

The Department encourages employers and employees to contact us for assistance to improve their understanding of new labor standards under the FFCRA and use our educational online tools to avoid violations like those found in this investigation.

The FFCRA helps the U.S. combat and defeat the workplace effects of the coronavirus by giving tax credits to all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees either to provide employees with paid leave for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. Please visit WHD’s “Quick Benefits Tips” for information about how much leave workers may qualify to use, and the wages employers must pay. The law enables employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.

WHD continues to provide updated information on its website and through extensive outreach efforts to ensure that workers and employers have the information they need about the benefits and protections of this new law.

The agency provides additional information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to the coronavirus and its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and on job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.

The department offers an online webinar to inform employers of their responsibility under the FFCRA. For more information about the laws enforced by WHD, call 866-4US-WAGE, or visit www.dol.gov/agencies/whd.

The mission of WHD is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
June 24, 2020
Release Number
20-1225-DAL
Contact: Juan Rodriguez
Contact: Chauntra Rideaux
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